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What Should Someone Look for in a Bread Knife?

Recently a publication, Business Insider, reached out to ask me about this important kitchen knife in your arsenal of kitchen knives.

What should someone look for in a bread knife? Can you speak to the importance on knife skills? The pros and cons of serrated knives.

Also looking for someone who can answer the following Qs:

Are bread knives and serrated knives the same?

What should you use a serrated knife for?

What type of knife is best for cutting bread?

What to look for when buying a bread knife?

What is an offset bread knife?

How often should you sharpen a bread knife?

What can you use a bread knife for?

How long should a bread knife be?

Well, I just love a good question! And you’re the first to get the scoop on all things related to bread and serrated knives. Let’s dig in!

1. Yes.  Bread knives and serrated knives are the same. However, not all serrated knives are necessarily just bread knives. For example, a santoku style serrated knife could be used for cutting bread, and also spreading mayonnaise or mustard to make sandwiches. Doubling up for double duty. 

2. A serrated knife can be used to cut thick crusted bread like a baguette.  a serrated knife can also be used to cut cakes for even layers, and then used to cut slices of finished cake without squishing said cake or delicate pastries. Same can be said for using a serrated knife for soft cheese. 

Another use for a serrated knife could be to cut roast beef and even tomatoes. Serrated steak knives are often offered in steak houses to cut steak though not as well as a sharp edged smooth knife. Serrated knives can often fray tender meat and can be looked down upon. 

3. The best knife for cutting bread is a serrated, long blade knife.

4. When buying a bread knife, you’re looking for a long blade with sharp teeth and a handle that you’ve got a good grip on.

5. An offset bread, knife or serrated knife is often also recommended as it gives a buffer between your hand and the blade when cutting through crusty bread.

6. Serrated knives or bread knives can be sharpened, but not as often as you would a chef’s knife, or a smooth edged knife. The sharpening method is easy, but a little complicated to describe. A home chef would be better off taking knives to a professional knife sharpener. However, that being said, having a sharpening rod at home or a sharpening stone and access to YouTube videos one can easily learn how to sharpen a serrated knife at home.

7. The average length of a bread knife is between 7 to 10 inches long.

8. As mentioned above serrated knives can be used on crusty bread like baguettes, sourdough, etc. but can also be used for cutting tomatoes, large cuts of beef, even chicken. Serrated knives can also be used to cut thick rinded fruit, like watermelon, cantaloupe, or pineapple, for example. Though most chefs would use a chef’s knife for those purposes.

More questions for the publication:

- What is the Rockwell scale C? What is the best RSC for bread knives?

- Are fine or medium-sized teeth better for cutting bread?

1. For most versatility one should look for a long offset blade with scalloped edges, moderately shallow with slightly round edges for an all purpose bread knife. However, if you have the budget for a few varieties, sharp serrations are best for tough crusty bread

It’s important to mention that truly speaking, the real test lies in the owner’s technique in slicing the bread. The goal is to slice with long even strokes, rather than rough, jagged slicing which will tear through the soft interior of a superior crusty bread

2. Rockwell Scale C and what is best RSC for bread knives.

The Rockwell scale, C also known as HRC, is a method used to measure the hardness of a knife. A higher hardness level means the knife can be and also maintain its edge for extended periods.

Kitchen knives have a hardness range of 50 to 65+ HRC, with most consumer knives, falling between 52 to 62 HRC.

Obviously for bread, knives used predominantly for cutting through crusty breads or separating chicken or roasts, you want a strong blade. In other words, a blade that doesn’t bow. The strength of the blade is another quality to consider when choosing a bread knife

3. In regards to the size of the teeth in choosing your bread knife, it is my opinion that medium size teeth are your best bet for for all purpose use in your in your kitchen. It will provide a cleaner cut and easier to maintain.

Chef Elizabeth Mehditach is the executive chef and founder of LĒZA. A Re-imagined Mediterranean food, pastry and lifestyle catering company based in Los Angeles, California. Chef E helps families and professionals curate all their life events with menus that are delicious and eclectic as are the cuisines and cultures framing the Mediterranean. Making their events as memorable and special as her effervescent and warm personality.

Did you like these tips? Great! Please visit my website for more tips and recipes on my blog. While you’re at it subscribe to my newsletter to stay in the know about all things Re-imagined Mediterranean Food, Pastry and Lifestyle.

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